Former gay meteorologist says online ‘predators’ are exploiting him

A former New York meteorologist who claimed in September that he was fired after someone sent nude webcam photos of him to his employer is speaking out against online “predators” after months of silence.

In a video posted to Instagram this week, former Spectrum News NY1 meteorologist Erick Adame he said the headlines surrounding his departure from NY1 gave “sexual predators the idea that he wanted to be exploited and humiliated.” Adame alleged that these online predators are trying to obtain and potentially even make money from his private adult content that was recorded without his knowledge.

“A lot of these people are just scouring the internet trying to find whatever photos or videos of me they can find,” Adame said. “I never wanted any of those images or videos to be recorded, saved or shared in any way, and I don’t want any kind of attention that I’ve been receiving. What I do want is for these people to leave me alone.”

In a message shared with NBC News on Tuesday night, Adame said that dealing with the consequences of “sharing explicit images and videos of me without my consent, and a very public termination have been the hardest experiences of my life.” But he said he also wanted to speak because “there’s a bigger story than me on the webcam”: Adame said “people are being exploited like this every day” by having their private webcam sessions secretly recorded and distributed without his consent.

In fact, the FBI’s Internet Crime Complaint Center issued a warning in september 2021 about a “large increase in the number of sextortion complaints.” Sextortion, he says, is when someone “threatens to distribute your private and sensitive material if their demands are not met.” The office said it received more than 16,000 such complaints in the first seven months of 2021, with nearly half of the alleged victims in the 20-39 age group. Last month, the FBI issued a separate warning on the sextortion of minors, particularly adolescent males. (Although Adame said that the images of him were recorded and distributed without his consent, he said that he was not blackmailed.)

Adame, an openly gay meteorologist who had worked at Spectrum News NY1 since 2007, admitted in a instagram posted in September that she had secretly appeared and performed on an adult video website for other men while working at the television station. He said the actions were “100% consensual” by everyone involved, aside from the incident in which someone took screenshots of him without his knowledge and then sent those images to his employer and his mother.

A Spectrum News source told NBC News at the time that company management worked with Adame for months after the webcam incident and before his departure. The source, who did not confirm whether Adame was fired, said Adame’s departure had nothing to do with his sexual orientation and said the company fosters an inclusive environment. The source said the situation is more complicated than it seems, but did not provide further details, citing privacy concerns.

Spectrum News declined NBC News’ request for comment following Adame’s latest comments.

In this week’s video, Adame said: “I wish people would focus more on the fact that these videos exist when they shouldn’t, rather than the obscene details.”

The Emmy-nominated meteorologist said he had previously assumed that once he closed his laptop, anything that had happened on his webcam would “only exist in memory.” Instead, he said, his webcam sessions were recorded “by people and then sometimes by these bots.”

“There are these websites that are recording or taking screenshots of you while you are in front of the camera without you realizing it, and many of these websites are hosted offshore in other countries and do not comply with any of the US laws here. . You request they remove it and they just ignore you,” she said.

According to one summons request filed in the Supreme Court of the State of New York, County of New York, by Adame and his attorney in September, an anonymous user of a website owned by Unit 4 Media Ltd. took nude screenshots of Adame without his permission and the sent to his employer and his mother in December 2021, “with the intent to harass, annoy, or alarm him.” After learning the photos were taken, Adame asked Unit 4 Media for more information about the user who shared them. The company indicated that it could help identify the user, but said it would only do so with a subpoena, the document says.

Lawrence Walters, an attorney for the company, told NBC News at the time that Unit 4 Media’s policy is to comply with legally issued subpoenas and provide relevant user data where required by law.

“The capture and dissemination of user content without consent violates our client’s Terms of Service and Forum Rules, which may result in the suspension or ban of violating accounts,” Walters wrote in a September email.

The subpoena petition asks the court to compel the company to share with Adame any documents or communications that could help identify the user, whom Adame accused of violating the state’s revenge porn law.

The status of the September petition is currently unclear. Adame and his attorney, Jeremy Klausner, declined to comment on the petition or whether they would take any further legal action. Neither Unit 4 Media nor Walters responded to a request for comment.

It’s also unclear if the “photos and videos” Adame refers to in his latest Instagram post are the same images referenced in the petition or additional images.

Towards the end of his latest video, Adame shared a message with his followers.

“The internet is an extremely dangerous place, and anything you post on the internet will be there forever, and there are sexual predators out there who are ready to exploit you, just like they have been doing to me,” she said. .

Adame told NBC News that he still hasn’t found a job since leaving NY1. He said that being a meteorologist had been a “dream job” that he had longed for since second grade.

“So how has this impacted me professionally and personally? It has been devastating,” she said.